Getting Serious about College Readiness
By Dave Spence, in Inside Higher Ed (March 22, 2007)
In a recent editorial in Inside Higher Ed, Dave Spence—who currently serves as president of the Atlanta-based Southern Regional Education Board—argues that there is “a missing urgency in postsecondary education” about the problem of college readiness. Postsecondary educators, Spence says, have yet to reach a consensus about the nature of the problem. Some question the problem’s severity, others worry that access and admissions could be affected if they seek to address readiness, and others simply believe that readiness is a problem that must be addressed by high schools, not higher education. Spence suggests, however, that educators ignore the readiness problem at their own peril.
Spence identifies a number of ways to achieve consensus about college readiness. “There needs to be agreement that all states face a significant readiness problem,” he says, and “postsecondary education needs to embrace the improvement of college readiness as a move in its own best interest.” Improving readiness must not be seen as “a threat to college admission”; moreover, states “must specify what readiness means” in terms of “essential skills,” and should begin work on fostering those skills immediately rather than waiting for graduation requirements to change. “The best kind of readiness agenda will require a statewide effort that has all of postsecondary education acting as a body, agreeing on set of readiness standards and uniformly communicating them to all high schools,” Spence concludes.
The full text of Dave Spence’s article is available from Inside Higher Ed.